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Columbia Icefield Tours

Columbia Icefield
Step onto the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefield and imagine what it was like during the last ice age. Located midway along the scenic Icefields Parkway connecting Canada’s Banff and Jasper national parks, the Columbia Icefield gives visitors a chance to experience how the landscape may have looked when glaciers covered the land.
 
The Basics

The opportunities to explore the Columbia Icefield on your own are limited, but with a guided tour—or even a helicopter trip—you can see more of the vast fields of ice, which stretch for miles. Day tours from Jasper, Banff, or Lake Louise generally include a stop at the Icefields Discovery Centre, a ride on a specially equipped Ice Explorer out onto the glacier, and a walk on the Glacier Skywalk. The Skywalk gives brave visitors the chance to venture out 918 feet (280 meters) above the Sunwapta Valley on a glass-bottom walkway.
 
Things to Know Before You Go
  • The Columbia Icefield is a must for nature enthusiasts and first-time visitors to Banff or Jasper.
  • Bring closed-toe shoes with a solid grip for walking on the ice.
  • Tote a jacket or sweater, as it can be chilly, even in the summer.
  • The Icefields Discovery Centre and the Skywalk are fully accessible. Book a wheelchair-accessible shuttle in advance.

How to Get There

The Columbia Icefield is on Alberta’s Icefields Parkway, 82 miles (132 kilometers) north of Lake Louise and 66 miles (106 kilometers) south of Jasper. The parkway can be treacherous in winter and may close due to snowstorms. Taking a tour that includes transportation enables you to enjoy the stunning scenery without the worry of driving.
 
When to Get There

The attractions at the Columbia Icefield are open from June until October. During the summer, afternoons are the busiest periods, particularly on weekends. Quieter times are in the morning and after 3pm. Check opening hours, as they vary throughout the season.
 
Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier
Columbia is the largest icefield in the Canadian Rockies and comprises eight major glaciers, the most accessible (and most visited) of which is the Athabasca Glacier. It is the tongue of the Athabasca Glacier that you can see from the Discovery Centre. The Columbia Icefield sits on the Continental Divide and is called the “mother of rivers,” as the meltwaters from the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers flow north, west, and east into major Canadian rivers.
Address: Improvement District No. 9, Banff, Canada
Admission: Varies
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3 Tours and Activities to Experience Columbia Icefield

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Glacier 1-Day Tour: Calgary, Bow Lake, Columbia Icefield

Glacier 1-Day Tour: Calgary, Bow Lake, Columbia Icefield

star-5
The Icefields Parkway and the Athabasca Glacier are one of the Canadian Rockies’ most beautiful and fascinating sightseeing. Overlooking the mighty Athabasca Glacier rests Altitude Restaurant, a truly unique buffet experience featuring locally-sourced Canadian cuisine
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  • 7 to 9 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.36
From
$99.36
Taking safety measures

Banff to Jasper One-Way Tour

Banff to Jasper One-Way Tour

star-4.5
Explore the wilds of western Alberta on this full-day Banff to Jasper one-way tour. Travel with your guide through the rugged wilderness of Banff and Jasper national parks. Take in top regional attractions such as Bow Lake, Crowfoot Glacier, Athabasca Falls, Lake Louise, and the Weeping Wall. At the Columbia Icefield, hike to the Athabasca Glacier or take the Glacier Skywalk over Sunwapta Valley. Learn about the region’s geology at the Columbia Icefield Centre or enjoy a guided walk to a scenic viewpoint. Then, finish your journey in Jasper.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$213.19
From
$213.19

Lake Louise to Jasper One-Way Tour

Lake Louise to Jasper One-Way Tour

star-4.5
Explore the Canadian wilderness on this 9-hour Lake Louise to Jasper one-way tour. Following a pickup from your Lake Louise accommodation, travel with your guide through the wilds of Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Marvel at some of Canada’s most impressive mountainscapes, and discover snow-covered peaks and mighty glaciers. Take in top regional attractions on route such as Crowfoot Glacier, Bow Lake, the Weeping Wall and Athabasca Falls. At the Columbia ice field, trek up to Athabasca Glacier or enjoy panoramic Sunwapta Valley views during the glacier skywalk.
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  • 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$210.72
From
$210.72

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience Columbia Icefield?